Games: Bridge

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WHEN TOP players play at the top of their game, it's a pleasure to watch. (Except, perhaps, if you are in opposition at the time!) But even the best can have momentary lapses of concentration, as happened on this hand from the US trials, where at least one famous name had a blind spot and went down in Four Spades.

At one table West opened One Club, One Heart from East and South then joined in with One Spade.

Although East and West supported each other's suits to the Three Club level, South still ended in Four Spades, the suit having been raised by North en route.

West led the ace, then the king of clubs, which South ruffed. Declarer played a diamond towards the king, which held, and the ten of diamonds ran to West's ace.

When West got off lead with a third club South ruffed, then tried to cross-ruff the hand, but when the defence came in with a heart they played a trump and declarer ended a trick short.

If, instead of trumping the third club, declarer discards a small heart from hand, he is in full control. (Larry Cohen, playing on the Jimmy Cayne team, was one of the US experts who made this play.) Now, if West plays his fourth club, declarer simply cross-ruffs the rest of the hand, with West suffering the ignominy of under- trumping in the closing stages.

Should West lead a spade at trick five instead of his last club, declarer wins, ruffs a small diamond in dummy, then draws trumps and claims.

Love all;

dealer West


410 8 5

!A 5 3 2

#K 10

2J 5 3 2

West East

47 6 3 2 44

!Q 6 4 !K J 10 9

#A 4 #J 8 7 5

2A K 10 8 2Q 7 6 4


4A K Q J 9

!8 7

#Q 9 6 3 2